USA U19 Women Sprint To 95-40 Exhibition Win Over Canada
The 2015 USA U19 World Championship Team (2-0) jumped out to an 11-0 lead and continued to dominate throughout the remainder of its exhibition contest against Canada (0-2) for an eventual 95-40 victory at the Spain U19 International Invitational on Monday evening in Mercia, Spain.
All 11 available players put up no less than four points apiece, including Napheesa Collier (Incarnate Word Academy/O’Fallon, Mo.), who scored a game-high 19 points. Also contributing double-digit scoring efforts were Azurá Stevens (Duke/Raleigh, N.C.), who notched 15 and just missed out on a double-double after securing nine rebounds; while Shakayla Thomas (Florida State/Sylacauga, Ala.) checked in to score 14 points to go with seven boards.
Further, A’ja Wilson (South Carolina/Hopkins, S.C.) grabbed a game-best 10 rebounds and tallied nine points and three assists, while Crystal Dangerfield (Blackman H.S./Murfreesboro, Tenn.) dished out a game-best five of the USA’s 17 assists.
“We came in with a different type of focus (than yesterday),” said USA U19 and University of South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley. “We have a better understanding of international play, and we also have a better understanding of what we’re good at and what we’re trying to be good at. When you have those things factoring in, you tend to get a basketball club that can apply a lot of pressure and force teams into taking bad shots or contested shots. It was totally a defensive effort where we forced Canada into taking some ill-advised shots. We made it really hard for them to see options out there on the floor.”
The USA is competing in a July 12-14 round-robin tournament between U19 teams from Australia (1-1), Canada, Spain (1-1) and the USA. Australia defeated host Spain 72-50 in tonight’s second game. The exhibition tournament closes with a game between the U.S. and Spain on July 14 (2:45 p.m. EDT). The USA-Spain game will be preceded by a clash between Australia and Canada.
The USA wasted no time in setting the tone against Canada. Stevens, who nailed a 3-pointer at 9:23, bookended the USA’s 11-0 opening run when she scored another bucket at 6:45.
“We tried to come out really hard, and we were super focused,” said Collier. “That helped spur the run we went on.”
Canada put up its first two points after the game was over four minutes old, but was unable to pull closer than nine points the remainder of the first quarter. The American women were up 15-5 at 4:47 and closed the quarter on a 11-2 spurt for a 26-7 lead, while already owning a 12-5 advantage on the glass after 10 minutes of play.
“We got on the boards early, getting a lot of rebounds and putting them back up,” Collier stated. “I think that really helped us to kick it off.”
Stevens led the U.S. in the first quarter, scoring nine points on a perfect 4-of-4 from the field as the USA hit a sizzling 66.7 percent (12-18 FGs) from the field. The U.S. defense held Canada to just 20.0 percent (3-15 FGs).
“It was a whole different look than yesterday, and my teammates were really helping out a lot with that, finding me in the right spots and setting me up for success,” said Stevens.
By halftime every member of the U.S. team registered in the scoring column, led by 11 from Stevens and nine from Collier, and the USA headed into the midway break with the game well in hand, 52-16.
The first half not only ended with the USA up by 36 points, the red, white and blue also dominated the glass for a 41-17 rebounding margin and had eight steals, while forcing Canada into 17 first-half turnovers.
“Canada is one that, if you allow them to run their offensives fluently, they lead to easy baskets,” added Staley. “We knew that if we took the strength of what they do away, it plays in our favor. Canada is a good team. They are without a couple of their starting guards, so I think they’re feeling a little bit of the pressure of other people having to fill in for what those other guards gave them.”
The U.S. outscored Canada 22-11 in the third quarter and 21-13 in the fourth quarter for the final.
In all, the USA outrebounded Canada by a 52-23 margin, including 34-18 on the offensive glass. The U.S. had nine steals and forced 21 Canada turnovers, while dishing out 17 assists on 40 made baskets.
“It was a collective effort,” concluded Stevens. “Everybody came in and did what they had to do and played as a team. That’s just going to help us in the end to be the most successful, everybody coming in and doing what they do best. It was all a collective effort as a team.”
The USA finished the contest with a red-hot 55.6 percent (40-72 FGs) shooting percentage, while limiting Canada to a mere 24.1 percent (14-58 FGs) for the game.
Katie Lou Samuelson (Mater Dei H.S./Huntington Beach, Calif.) returned home during the USA’s training camp due to a family issue and will not compete in the Spain U19 International Invitational.
Assisting Staley and the U19 squad are collegiate head coaches Kim Barnes Arico of the University of Michigan and Jeff Walz of the University of Louisville.
The USA U19 squad is on a quest to capture a sixth-consecutive gold medal at the 2015 FIBA U19 World Championship and is using the Spain U19 International Invitational as a final tune-up for the U19 Worlds, which will be played July 18-26 in Chekhov, Russia,
The USA will open 2015 FIBA U19 World Championship play against Spain on July 18 (1:15 p.m. EDT), face China on July 19 (1:15 p.m. EDT) and cap preliminary round play on July 21 against Egypt (1:15 p.m. EDT). The USA’s preliminary round games will be streamed live online at YouTube.com/FIBA.
2015 FIBA U19 World Championship
The FIBA U19 Worlds will feature 16 teams with athletes 19 years old or younger (born on or after Jan. 1, 1996). The 16 teams will be seeded following the July 18-21 preliminary play and advance to the knockout phase with the round of 16 on July 22. The quarterfinals are scheduled for July 24, semifinals are on July 25 and the tournament will end with the medal games on July 26.
Competing in Group A are host Russia, Argentina, the Netherlands and Japan; Group C consists of Belgium, Canada, and Mali; while Group D includes Australia, Brazil, Serbia and South Korea.
First held in 1985 and known as the FIBA Junior World Championship through 2001, the U19 World Championship features the world’s top players who are 19 years old or younger. Held every four years through 2005, FIBA now holds U19 World Championships every two years.
USA women’s teams are 66-12 in the U19/Junior World Championships, capturing a fifth-consecutive gold in 2013 with a 9-0 record. In all, the USA own a record six gold medals and one bronze medal and have stood on the podium in each of the past seven FIBA U19 World Championships.
Notable players to represent the U.S. include: Angela Aycock (1993); Alana Beard (2001); Essence Carson (2005); Tamika Catchings (1997); Crystal Langhorne (2005); Erlana Larkins (2005); Jantel Lavender (2007); Lisa Leslie (1989); Rebecca Lobo (1993); Maya Moore (2007); Nnemkadi Ogwumike (2009); Vickie Orr (1985); Courtney Paris (2005); Cappie Pondexter (2001); Katie Smith (1993); Dawn Staley (1989); Breanna Stewart (2011 and 2013); and Diana Taurasi (2001).